Why It Is Best to Complete Your Root Canal Before Going Diving

Posted on: 20 February 2018

In general, an endodontist will fully complete a root canal treatment in 1-3 appointments. Badly infected teeth may require at least two appointments. This is to ensure that the tooth is completely free of infection. In addition, some teeth, such as the upper molars, are more difficult to treat because they may have up to 5 canals, each of which may contain infected tissue.

If your diving holiday happens to be scheduled between these stages, you may be considering going for your final appointment after your holiday. This is inadvisable for several reasons.

Diving With a Temporary Filling is Risky

When a tooth is badly infected and has multiple canals, an endodontist will clean and disinfect the tooth before adding medication to it. This may be to allow any remaining infection to drain out of the tooth for 1-2 weeks. Before sending a patient home, they cover the tooth with a temporary filling to ensure that no food debris or bacteria can gain access to it.

It is possible to dive with a temporary filling but there are risks. For instance, because temporary fillings are meant to be removed, you need to avoid placing pressure on them. While diving, if your filling comes into contact with your mouthpiece, it could fracture or even dislodge.

A Compromised Filling Will Ruin Your Trip

If a temporary filling dislodges while you are diving, it could become a choking hazard. The last thing you need is to find yourself choking on a temporary filling while diving at a depth of 20 metres or so. You may also swallow the dislodged filling. Without the filling to protect it, your tooth will then be open to re-infection. The resulting pain will then ruin your trip.

A fractured filling may also cause gas to become trapped inside a tooth whilst you are diving. You will then experience barodontaligia, which can be very painful and in some cases can cause a filling to pop out of a tooth due to the extreme pressure. Also referred to as "tooth squeeze", the very least a sufferer will need is some strong pain medication.

Arrange to Complete Your Root Canal First

If your diving trip is coming up but you also urgently need a root canal, inform your endodontist of your plans before your appointment. They will then try to either complete the root canal in one appointment, or advise you to wait until they have filled the tooth and sealed it with a permanent crown. 


Looking younger and fresher

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